Some people in my life, and I would imagine in our culture in general, may think that the life of an artist is easy, or a 'cop' out, from having a 'real' job...Well, let me speak to you on that thought for a few minutes....this is me today, after submitting yet another application for public funding for my work as an artist. Public funding you may cry, what a privilege!
Yes. It is. And I am grateful and mindful of being a white artist, in a Western country who can apply for money for my work. This is a privilege and a gift. No doubt about it. And. It is also a vast amount of work. Unpaid work. And if your like me, and many artists and you have a nuro-spicy, neurodivergent way of thinking, feeling, being in the world, then there's not much harder than sitting at a desk and writing thousands of words about why you deserve the money, and what you will do with it, if you get it. Oh and numbers too! Lots of big and complicated numbers. And maybe you will get the money. Or not. It is a constant juggle and gamble and risk. You will get rejected and knocked back often....
My last application is not funded. The one before was. And if it doesn't then the next year will look very different...and actually I don't know how I will manage it. Which is what it is like every year. Hand to mouth, project to project, flying by the seat of my very excellent and proverbial pants. Do I enjoy it? Yes. For sure, some part of me thrives on being in the unknown; I am an artist, the unknown is my playground. And my happy joyous, fun place.
AND. I do have bills to pay. Rent. A van to run. And all the usual life costs. So there is a constant sacrifice also. Of ease. Of security. Of knowing what my pay will be at the end of the month. Or if there will be any. And still this is what I choose, because it is my soul calling. Another gift and privilege that I am grateful for; knowing this is what I must do.
Art is life blood. Culture. Change. Power. Questioning. Over throws. Dismantling. Art is behind so much more in the world than many people realise. Waves of global change, in music, fashion, video games, theatre, film, television, galleries, books; Art is to be alive, to see something and feel. Watch something and weep, laugh, and re-consider. Without our artists the world would be a dull place in which to live. Nature is art. Art is our nature.
So if you are one of those people who might be mis-informed about how 'easy' it is to be an artist, or what a 'doss' our lives are. Perhaps you can recosnidert this though, as I have been doing this for the last 15 years now, and I can say hand on heart, it is many great and wonderful, and magical and powerful things; but easy, is never one of them! Brain fried after days of tax returns and ACW applications leaves me frazzled and also proud!
Heres to all the other wonderful people who give so much to thier art, and in turn, to life!